ONE YEAR AGO...
One year ago, the members of the 1186 Military Police mobilized and deployed. One year ago, I knew just a little bit about just one military family in the 1186. And I had only the slightest clue about what it meant to be a military family.
THIS PAST YEAR...
This past year, I've gotten to know many of the families who are a part of the 1186 unit. Although each family is incredibly unique and different from the next, their lives are intertwined in an incredibly important way. Their loved ones are overseas together. Seeing these women come together to connect and support each other to get through a year without their husbands was indescribably amazing.
I learned that it's a LOT more than just missing your loved one. It's surviving the day-to-day stuff without them there to help you (which is hard - for everyone). It's a surprise burst water heater, a sick pet, a huge spider, a slightly less warm Christmas - when your loved one is overseas, you MISS them. And it's REALLY REALLY hard.
...And THAT is why I've come to love and respect these families SO much. Their strength is seriously AMAZING.
RAYNA & DAVID
Rayna and David have been married for just a little over 25 years. They celebrated their 25th anniversary on separate continents, but they're one of the closest, strongest couples I've ever met.
MARCUS, EMMA, & LIAM
This session included a very special everyday moment that made me reflect on spending a whole year away from one's family. Awesome Emma lost her tooth during our photoshoot. Big moments and benchmarks are important. But so are special, everyday moments - like playing outside, eating ice cream, chasing your siblings, and losing teeth. When our troops deploy overseas, they give up their safety. And they give up having moments like these. That's big stuff.
And TODAY, the 1186 comes home. It's not a holiday. There are no parades or huge signs, announcing today's importance. But for a few awesome families in Oregon, today is the best day ever. They get a family member back.
For most of us, it's easy to "appreciate" our troops. I encourage you to take some extra time to really get to know your friends and loved ones who serve our country.